About the Jungle Remake..

Posted on at 8:23 PM by Moobeat

I present you with a few different red posts that give a bit of insight into the recently unveiled jungle remake and clarify a bit about what Riot was aiming for with the changes.

If you are still a bit unclear on the objective of the remake, Xypherous made a post, within a thread that was presenting a generally unfavorable opinion of the remake, about some of the main goals they hoped to address:
  1. Make the Jungling experience easier to start off with, especially for lower-levels.
  2. Make Jungle harder in terms of decision points and trade-offs at high levels - Do you farm more or gank more? 
  3. Make Counter-Jungler more interesting by increasing the value of camp steals with the addition of sigil. 
  4. Even out the top-end and the bottom-end junglers - increase viable jungler diversity.
As I've mentioned in the past, the last point is what intrigues me the most. I'd love to be able to jungle effectively on some of the B and C list junglers ( Poppy and Morde jungle please! ) so that's what has me sticking to the game plan for the most part.

If you go anywhere near the forums right now, there are outcries of "WOW THIS IS GOING TO RUIN THE GAME" and "RIOT HAS NO IDEA WHAT THIS IS GOING TO DO TO BALANCE!". Zileas swooped in on the patch preview thread and dropped us a tip to comfort the concerned summoners.

"On the jungle changes, they have been tested extensively by pro players internally and externally. We used the public testing environments a lot for this, and have been testing them in the internal balance team for a very long time."

One of these players was the ever-so-awesome Stonewall008. For those who might be unaware, Stonewall is a gold elo player who specializes in everything that has to do with the jungle. For as long as I can remember, he's been cranking out the most efficient jungle builds and routes for any champion you could think of. He's had some hands on experience with the changes and had the following comments ( sorry, no spoilers or sneak peaks. just discussion ) about the remake.

Finally, we have a rather long winded post from one of the people heavily involved in the remake, Guinsoo!
Hello all,

I don't intend for this to become anything like a blog but I want to address a few points I've been seeing on the forum, and expand a bit on what the Patch Preview showed/explained. I've been involved with the jungle adjustments since they got started about 6 months ago so I'd like to post some more detailed information about the changes and their intended effects.

The small camps are where the biggest changes have been made. As the patch preview noted, they all respawn faster and they all have a sigil, but it's just a one-shot heal that heals for an increasing flat amount based on health missing. It also doesn't scale with game length, although we are considering that on the backburner (unneeded for primary set of adjustments). The primary purpose of this heal is to support low-level summoners, who generally will remain at the lowest amount of health. The reward per respawn rate has been slightly increased; if we reduced the rewards of the small camps by the amount we reduced their respawn timer by, junglers would fall significantly behind due to the increased run times. The initial spawn timers for camps have not been increased; they remain at 1:40 and 1:55.

Some things you can expect from the new jungle:

1. The time to 4 is slightly longer for most (likely all) champions. I have seen a lot of threads suggesting that the jungle has become more OP, and while I can't say that's not the case, one consequence of the shorter spawn times on small camps is that a full clear will not quite get you to 4. However, a full clear plus any small camp will get you to 4, so you have a lot of flexibility in terms of where you start and end, and if you want to gank at 4, you can set your route up to end at any small camp to gank where you want.

2. The jungle is a little less survival limited, and a little more time limited. In the current jungle on live, you have to be able to sustain yourself at least until 4, because the jungle is hard, and that's the primary inhibition. Only once a champion meets this primary criteria do others come into consideration like clear time, gank ability, transition to endgame, etc. In the new jungle, it's a little more about ability to clear the camps and ability to optimize your time. As the patch preview noted, the fact that the small camps are generally constantly respawning means you are choosing between farming your jungle, ganking, going back to shop, or counterjungling/map control, and this was a primary goal: inject more choice, unpredictability, and decision-making into jungling. However just because you're not farming your jungle constantly doesn't mean it's a waste, there's no reason that while you're ganking top bottom can't send one person to quick clear Golems. They will be back up before the jungler gets back there. Same with Wraiths, mid can clear them quickly between waves. With good coordination a team can get more farm out of the jungle, and more ganks from their jungler.

2b. By shortening the respawn timers, the jungler must choose between multiple strong actions. Currently with long gaps between jungle respawns, it creates situations with less choice than we'd like. With more things that must be tended to, the junglers job is made more difficult, while the physical jungle is made a little easier. This also ties into the predictability of ganks.

3. Ganks are a little more unpredictable. #1 and #2 (among other factors) create a scenario where the jungler has more health at all times, and the jungle is basically ready to clear at any time, so if there is a good opportunity to gank he might be more likely to take it. On the test realm we have seen more level 2 and 3 ganks than we initially expected. Ideally this should be lane-mandated and flexible: for example if a lane is being pushed hard, it should be easier for the jungler to get the gank without setting his team too far behind.

4. Counterjungling is probably a little stronger. We pushed a lot of the small camp rewards out of the small monsters and into the big ones. Taking the healing sigil and 95% of a camp's reward while leaving a monster to hold the respawn is quite strong. Additionally, Ancient Golem and Lizard Elder camps give a little more exp reward and is a little more central to a jungler's fast clear to 4, so we may see more tension and fights around these enemy camps early in the game. Still, feedback has been consistent that counterjungling feels less bad to play against because of the faster respawning camps, so that sounds like a win-win to me. I note that I say probably because we adjusted this ratio down about 2 weeks ago due to feedback that counterjungling was still too strong. We do have a feature ready where counterjungled camps respawn 100% slower (X%), but in testing counterjungling proved strong enough that we did not move forward with it. I suspect this is related to the increased time scarcity for junglers.

5. Nashor and Dragon are now immune to shreds. No more 15 second Nashors. Yay! Dragon might be a little undertuned health-wise, and we're watching it. He's tougher 1v1 or 1v2 but probably a little easier for a full group, especially later in the game.

6. I don't think the jungle has been oversimplified for experienced players. It is a little easier for new players, and they will struggle to some degree in the jungle anyway (unless prepared), but with newer players the game in general is very unpredictable. Have you ever watched a game full of new players? Lanes can go untended for long periods of time, farm is very low, kills are usually very high. The jungler should learn quickly that other things must be done to be successful; plus who doesn't want to get involved in some fights? For level 30 summoners, the easier jungle is offset by more frequent encounters with monsters, an increased need to gank due to health potion and minion changes, increased incentive to counterjungle, etc. There are a lot of moving levers within the jungle and a harsh incoming-damage-based barrier to entry is not necessarily the only way to make the jungle interesting, varied, and have sufficient balancing mechanics.

7. Similar to above, while I think there might be more champions it's possible to jungle with, I don't think there will be many more good junglers. As with any class, there are the better options and there are the worse options, to varying degree. The biggest 'class' of jungler that probably got weaker the sustain junglers; almost all of which are good in lane, and still, having high/full health when you gank at a less predictable time is always good. We did initially see some weird stuff like jungle Annie, but it kind of fizzled out because all she really has going for her is the vicious 6 gank. She's too gold-reliant to jungle.

8. I do see these changes actually making jungling a little less required. I think currently there are some interesting things you can do in a 2v1 lane, but the disadvantage of not having a jungler vs theirs (when he has full farm on higher-yield monsters, plus the only team with repeated available ganks) is too great. In other words I think teams always have to take a jungler right now because giving the other team the only jungler is too strong. I can see one team running a 2-1-2 comp or a 1-1-2 with a roaming support that can jungle (Alistar, Maokai), or on the other end of the fence a team with a jungler and a roamer that can counterjungle. This may not happen, and isn't really a primary focus of the changes, but I'd be curious and excited if it did.

Overall the set of jungle changes have been the result of a lot of iteration and have been testing in a pretty stable state for some time now. This post was pretty impromptu so it really doesn't reflect the full attention we have given to these set of changes, but I was hoping to shed a little more detail into the changes than the patch preview and a lot more information as to the reasoning behind the changes, and what sorts of behavior and action we've seen in testing. I might have a few additional thoughts that I will edit in.

- Guinsoo, Game Designer, via the official forums.

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